Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Anchorage Assembly Chair Debbie Ossiander Introduces Third Version Of Ordinance #64, AO 2009-64(S-1); 344 More People Still Remaining To Testify

As anticipated, on June 16th, 2009, Anchorage Assembly chair Debbie Ossiander introduced a third version of what is now called Ordinance #64 to extend nondiscrimination protection to gays. The new version is designated AO 2009-64(S-1), and can be viewed HERE. According to KTUU's report, the primary change is that the Equal Rights Commission will be tasked to track reported cases of discrimination in Anchorage based on sexual orientation.

-- All previous posts on this ordinance HERE.
-- Anchorage Daily News photo gallery HERE
-- Anchorage Daily News video HERE
-- KTVA story HERE. KTVA news video HERE and HERE.
-- KTUU news video directly accessible HERE and embedded below:



According to The Alaska Standard Live Blog, testimony began at 6:00 P.M. Some noteworthy examples of testimony follow. Jim Minnery of the Alaska Family Council said that he had actually rented one of his properties to a gay couple. But he continues to oppose the ordinance, reciting several examples of what has happened under these types of laws in other communities. One family practitioner M.D. also spoke out against the ordinance, saying that she has not heard of sexual orientation discrimination from any of her patients; furthermore, she asked other doctors about the issue and found that out of a combined six million encounters with patients, there were only four allegations of discrimination based on sexual orientation. One gay person also spoke out against the ordinance, but no further details were offered. The live blogger also observed that, once again, a large amount of testimony was based on religious objections; I warned against such a predilection in my previous post.

Of course, there were also those who spoke out in favor of the ordinance as well, and a pro-gay blogger also provided live-blog documentation.

Hundreds more signed up to testify. By the time the June 16th meeting adjourned at 11 P.M., there were still 344 more people remaining on the list; a total of 539 had signed up, and 195 gave testimony during the first two meetings. One factor triggering the additional wave of interest was an e-mail allegedly sent by Pastor Jerry Prevo to his Anchorage Baptist Temple parishioners. Parts of it were sloppily posted as comments to an earlier Anchorage Daily News story; here are the excerpts:

Vaporlock wrote on 06/16/2009 10:25:31 AM:

Dear ABT Email Family,

FOR THE SAKE OF OUR CHILDREN, GRANDCHILDREN, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM, CHURCHES, CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS, WE MUST STOP THIS NEW ORDINANCE IN ANCHORAGE.

HOMOSEXUALITY IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE MORAL LIFESTYLE. IT IS DISEASED AND DEVIANT.

HOMOSEXUALS ARE TRYING TO FORCE US TO APPROVE THEIR LIFESTYLE INSTEAD OF JUST ACCEPTING THEM.

HOMOSEXUALS ARE NOT BEING DEPRIVED OF JOBS, PLACES TO LIVE OR LOANS. THEY HOLD HIGH POLITICAL OFFICES, WELL-PAYING CORPORATE POSITIONS, AND ARE, AS A WHOLE, IN A HIGHER INCOME BRACKET.

The liberals on the Anchorage Assembly are trying to pass an ordinance to give "special rights" to gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and of all things transgender perverts.

Last week we surprised them with an overwhelming number of people there in opposition, but they do not believe we can sustain these numbers. They feel like we are a bunch of wimps when it comes to fighting for what is right. To make it even harder, they have scheduled, in addition to the Tuesday night meeting, a special Wednesday night meeting. I am calling off our regular church service Wednesday so we can overwhelm them again on Wednesday night. This is how important this issue is to defeat.Below is some general information and BE SURE TO WEAR SOMETHING RED. (blue is their color) Pastor Prevo

General Information:

The public testimony concerning the proposed homosexual ordinance continues Tuesday and Wednesday nights. We need everyone to attend the Assembly meeting at the Lousacc Library. We need to fill up the Assembly Chambers with people wearing red shirts showing their opposition to the proposed ordinance. If you can arrive by 3 p.m., take a seat in the Assembly Chamber Hall. Bring something to eat or drink and a good book to read. Arriving early is important but coming when you can and being present, even outside, is just as important. We need to show the Assembly Members the voters of Anchorage...


It cuts off there and the person did not post the rest of it. The next hearing begins at 4 P.M. at the Loussac Library on Wednesday June 17th. If necessary, an additional Assembly hearing will be scheduled for Monday June 22nd on top of the regularly-scheduled meeting on Tuesday June 23rd.

Alaska Voices columnist Kevin Clarkson watched the meeting on T.V. and posted his reaction. He commended Jeffrey Mittman of ACLU Alaska for his knowledge of the issues and his understanding of the diverse viewpoints surrounding this issue. Clarkson was also pleased to hear that ACLU Alaska stands prepared to defend religous liberty, whether for individuals or organizations, in the event that such liberty is ever threatened by an ordinance like AO 64, or any other law. But Clarkson is still concerned that if AO 64 is passed without a religious conviction exemption, the religious community will likely be required to defend their rights in court unless and until their is a repeal by referendum.

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